Sunday, May 31, 2009

An A-Muse-Ing Workshop

For the past 4 weeks, I have been receiving regular emails from Artella’s Make Change With Your Muse online workshop.  This new course mixes both online email journal prompts and lessons with a wonderful packet of ephemera and world coins mailed to your doorstep to use in the many projects designed to help you both appreciate the abundance you already have in your life and bring more abundance into your life.

May may not have been the optimal month for me to sign on with this course, as I have had many other events happen in my life, from my husband nearly totalling our only car on the 1st, to the SAQA conference here in town Memorial Day weekend, to my uncle passing away on May 24th.  The emails gave me something to look forward to each day, and always had something that helped me step out of where I was at the moment and appreciate what I have. 

I have only had time to work on three of the projects, a candle holder, a gratitude purse, and finally an abundance ATM card, which I made today.  I found the process so fun that I made several:


The horizontal format ones.  I used a pack of bristol board ATC cards by Strathmore which I picked up at Crafts 2000 sometime during the past year.  The backgrounds are a mixture of color photocopies of my work and images taken from magazines.  I love the fish stickers, and the coins are from the ephemera packet I received as part of the course.  The Bible verse stickers were from my Gran’s collection, and contain quotes about abundance, asking and receiving.


The vertical format ones, including an image from an ad in American Style magazine, an Absolut ad, more fish stickers and more color photocopies of my work.  I just love working with color photocopies of my work, it makes it that much more personal.  These cards are designed to be kept in your wallet or placed in other areas where you will see them regularly.  They are intended to help you keep your focus on the good things in your life and the good things you intend for yourself.  I plan on keeping a couple in my purse, but I am also pinning a couple up next to my bed so that I see them in the morning and at night.

Marney is also launching a new program, the Artella Artbundance Coach Training Program and is offering a free live workshop/trial of the program on June 29.  I am really excited about this opportunity, as I love to create and I am always seeking ways of helping to spread the healing that creativity brings to my life to others.  You can find out more by clicking the link either here or in the sidebar.

This week I am finishing up a new water tower piece to take over to the Parkersburg Art Center for their “Splash” regional exhibit, so I may be a bit skint online.  I hope you all have a happy and creativity filled week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can You Help Me Out?

I am working on my artist statement for the grant this fall as well as for my Artful Home application. I'm having a hard time clarifying and actually just talking about one or two points. Alyson B. Stanfield suggests you ask an impartial person some of these questions to help see how others view your work and what they may want to know that you think is obvious.
for images of the work (for the grant I am using the water tower body of work; for Artful Home I will be including a bit more broader range, but all are pieced and appliqued)
for just the water towers

Now for the questions. If you can answer any or all of them or if you have any other questions you can think of I would really appreciate it. (and there are no wrong answers and no stupid questions). Thank you in advance!

1. Do you have art in your home? Tell me about it, why you selected it, what drew you to it, what you love about it.

2. What do you find most interesting about my work? What are you attracted to?

3. What do you find least interesting? Distracting? Puzzling?

4. What would you like to know about how it was made, displayed, and so on?

5. Does it remind you of anything in your life? Or recall a memory for you?

6. Is there anything you would like to know about me or my background?

Thank you *so* much!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Catching Up

I just spent three days attending the Studio Art Quilt Associates “Art and Excellence” conference here in my hometown of Athens, OH.  It was three days of meetings and workshops designed to help art quilters further our art and gain more exposure and respect for our work.  I took workshops on time management, self-publishing, and self-promotion using alternative methods of getting the work out there, and on Saturday we heard an inspirational talk from art coach Alyson B. Stanfield, who spoke on surviving tough times by getting tough.

I came home to continue working on this:


The Andrews Air Force Base water tower, approximately 4 feet wide.  The finished quilt will be around 80” high by 54” wide.


Detail of some of the fabrics and preliminary stitching.  I create the water towers as free-standing appliques using a base of Pellon 40 interfacing.  Once the image is totally pieced, I then sew it to the base quilt.  I’m thinking this piece will also have liberal use of white or clear iridescent sequins.  I need to check C. Cartwright to see what my options are.  I love to use sequins on these huge pieces.  They just add extra highlights and depth to the image.

I also need to prepare some new pieces for the July show at Casa Nueva.  I used this drawing from an old journal as inspiration:


Lots of octopuses.  I tend to doodle spirals when I doodle, this time I took them beyond and grew the creatures from the base.


Tentacles I, reverse applique using Pointillist Palette from Lunn Fabrics and hand-dyed cotton from Ellen Eddy.  Still in process, about 18” x 18”.

And just for a diversion, a collage:


Acrylic, torn Mexican bark paper, some threads and fabric on a canvas base.  The Mustang came from a mailer we received after signing up at the Ford display at the Ohio State Fair, and it is driving on a road collaged with a photocopy of another quilt I made.  Mustangs were the first car I could identify as a young child growing up in the Detroit area, and I still intend to own one (or several!) some day.  Just a happy piece to help process all the energy I received from the conference.  If you have an opportunity to attend such a conference, it is a great way to connect with like-minded people and find new friends.  I know so often we work alone, but it is good to get out once in a while.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Self Curating

Sounds something like you’d do to a ham or a smoked meat product. Curating. Ha ha. I feel like a beef jerky today, maybe tomorrow some turkey bacon. But I digress. I have been invited to exhibit my work with some other wonderful local art quilters at Casa Nueva here in Athens, and tomorrow we are hanging the show. Here are a few of the pieces I am going to take over:


Desert Twilight, fused floral on a base of hand-dyed twill, machine quilted back when I first got my Pfaff. It’s a delicate 9 3/4” x 10 1/2” in size.


Violet Jazz, 16” x 17”, again on a base of my hand-dyed twill.


Octopus’ Garden, 15 1/2” x 20 1/2”, done in my favorite turquoise, red and white combo.


And a detail, just love those polka dots!


Sunflower Morning, 11 3/4” x 10”, embellished with buttons from my collection of vintage buttons, as well as some new buttons sold for scrapbooking.


Spring Has Sprung, 16” x 18 1/2”, note how I used my (then) new machine’s number embroidery function.

And finally, for this series:


Tudor Rose, 11” x 10 1/2”

I made these when I first got my new Pfaff 2054, partially to learn the machine and partially because I had been working on a Kenmore without needle down and wanted to try out the new features. They don’t have my usual embellishment or my current over the top piecing, and they’ve never been posted on my website . Since they are small and come in an affordable price range ($75-$200), I figure they will be a nice fit for the venue.

Here are a few of my “rules” when self-curating:

1. Choose work that fits the available exhibition space

2. If it is in a high-traffic area, look for work with minimal embellishment (I am deliberately leaving several pieces at home because I do not want to find out something happened during dance night).

3. Choose work that you have not exhibited at this venue before. Since this is my first time at Casa, pretty much everything I have is open for showing, but I need to consider my other rules as well.

4. If you are hoping to sell, and have a good feel for your market, choose work that is priced appropriately for the venue. I’m sure there are people out there, even in poduck Athens, who could buy a higher-end piece of artwork, but for now, I am happy to send the more affordable for any budget pieces.

That’s basically it. I tweak for each show, but pretty much these are my rules. It’s one reason I will stop and make something smaller while working on one of the museum-sized pieces. I love making the work and I love to have the most people possible viewing the work. Self-curating and hard work help make that happen.

P.S. No animals were hurt in the curating of this project.

Driving Lessons

Someone over at Plurk posted that it sounded like a car hit their building. Then someone else replied that at one time someone had run into their house. Which brought up a few fun memories of driving lessons I would have been happier doing without.

When I was about 12, my Grandaddy took a bunch of us over to the A&W at 15 and Mound for some ice cream. He had a little olive green Dodge Colt that we all squeezed into. For some reason, he left us parked in the lot and was standing in line when one of my crazy cousins, jumping around in eager anticipation, knocked into the stick shift and knocked the car out of gear.

The car started rolling into traffic on 15 Mile. Grandaddy was at the ordering window, clueless.

Me, being the big brain trust I was (hey I grew up in Detroit, I should have known cars!) jumped out of my door and grabbed on for dear life, trying to keep the little Colt from rolling into traffic and (dum dum dum) certain doom. Screaming the whole time for Grandaddy to come help.

Everyone else noticed me. Eventually he did too. And after he ran over to the car and pulled the emergency brake, he said "Why were you yelling for me? All you had to do was pull the emergency brake!" (Emergency brakes play a part in my future driving lessons too, now that I think about it, but first....)

My second memorable driving lesson came when my aunt was parked in our driveway. She left, yes, another of my crazy cousins, alone in the car while she said goodbye to me and my mom. My cousin climbed into the front seat, put the car in drive (this time it was an automatic) and plowed into the fence right next to our cranky neighbor's house. I guess it's a good thing he was too little to reach the pedals. (And yes, he is the little brother to the cousin who almost rolled us into rush hour traffic).

And finally, my bestest memory of all. I was heading out from Wendy's on Texas Avenue in Bryan, Texas, to go take my SAT. As I pulled out into traffic, I heard a pop, and suddenly I was left with no working clutch cable. I rolled into traffic because I had no choice, stopped the car (did not turn it off, this is important in a minute here), put on the blinkers and got out to go back into work and call my dad to come get me.

As I'm on the phone, I hear one of my co-workers shout "Hey Andrea, your car is driving down Texas Avenue!"

Sure enough, I had not put on the parking brake.

Fortunately my co-workers ran out and helped me retrieve the car without anyone getting hurt. And I made it to the SAT on time. But yeah.

That parking brake? There for a reason!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Beading With World Beads


 beading with world beads

I just received an email from my wonderful editor at Lark Books telling me that Beading With World Beads is now shipping.  I am eagerly waiting for my contributors’ copy.  I submitted something like twenty designs for this book and had eight accepted for publication.  The parameters of the project were to use funky, ethnic, and natural beads in your designs.  I had much fun digging into my huge stash of African trade beads, Chinese turquoise, and Thai silver beads to make the pieces I have in this book.  When my contributors’ copy arrives I will post more details, but for right now I just wanted to get the word out. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Well, I sure hope I actually get a summer vacation, but it was the next best thing starting Friday evening when Aisha and I headed out to our friend Nancy’s cabin for the Athens County Knitters’ retreat.  Nancy lives about 20 minutes from here, out on one of the wonderful green and leafy hillsides that surround my home, and the cabin is nestled in amongst those trees, well back from the road and it was like being in another world.

Mostly we knitted and ate, and ate and knitted, and laughed and then knitted some more.  But I also managed to:


Paint a yarn bell.  We painted plain terracotta flower pots, oriented upside down so that we could put a ball of yarn under it, feeding the thread through the drainage hole at the top.  The yarn doesn’t get away in all the mad knitting that can then ensue.  Mine features happy giraffes, rose bushes, and fish bones hiding in the dirt below.

I also finished a snail from the Hansigurumi book, and made a raccoon-fox from the new OddBod Knitting book (they are on the pieces I’ve been sewing for the Next Big Project):


And I got some new to me shoes from Nancy’s mother (like the Sweet Potato Queens, who are all named Tammy, all the Athens County Knitters are named Nancy)


Then today Natalie came over and I worked on my adirondack chair (warning, obligatory bead content ahead):


The back of the chair (worked on over several months)


Detail of chair back, including some wonderful stoneware faces from Earthenwood Studios, bone beads and ceramic alien heads.


And the seat of the chair, in process, including a jumbo malachite cabochon and more stoneware and bone beads.  I am hoping to have this finished for our Innovative Art Alliance show.  We are hanging the show on May 30. 

So there you have it, what I did on my summer vacation, as such.  I hope you all had a great weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Thoughtful Thoughts, Thinking

Because of that wonderful line in "Help" something along the lines of "I am a good shot, shooting" :) Who doesn't love the line of form fitted pants under a full tunic? (I also loved Emma Peel and Julie Newmar's Catwoman, what can I say?)

We are in the in between again, that odd place that some call "falling through the cracks" but is more like a place where time, while not standing still, gives us a little breather from being what the world considers "normal". I have signed on for Eric Maisel's month-long "productive obsession" group, and have set myself a goal of getting into the studio from 1-4 M-F in order to produce the big pieces that look so good in the museum settings. I have managed to get upstairs every day so far, not for the full three hours yet, life and allergy induced headache/lethargy got in the way.

Focusing on the work enables me to put aside the constant anxiety about the job situations, as when every time I was pregnant I had this odd sense of being safe/protected/free of all responsiblity except growing the new life we had made. Not really realistic, but the relaxation of letting go of the stress enabled me to be more productive and efficient in my life because it didn't matter as much. I had, as they say "bigger fish to fry".

Last night we went to see the poet/author Kim Addonizio give a lecture/reading on campus. She talked about mining already existing stories and myths for source material, about writing about the characters on the edge of well known stories, such as the current trend toward books about people like Jo's father in the new book "March" and of course Gregory McGuire's series of revisited fairy tales and stories. I had an epiphany about a story that's been percolating in my head about characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that it doesn't have to be a novel, it can be a poem, and I am excited about playing with the idea again.

Words have been begging to come out, while I am sewing my head is filled with words: Frida telling me about blog posts we can write, ways to maybe help other people find good even in the middle of this economy, thoughts about the creative process that are "profound" and "thoughtful" and "mature" and all those things that all those "other" bloggers manage to write, but which stop just at the end of my fingertips when I sit down to actually write them, even though I know they are in there. (I am seriously considering a recorder to use while I am sewing, because this is maddening).

And I close with this, a sort of prose poem/morning page/free write that I made this morning, describing my trip home earlier this week in this place of magic and wonder:

"Green grass on the hills short and fuzzy like down on a baby duck. The mists surround the hills, bringing the sky to the ground once more. The words itch, they burn, they beg to come out and play, to do the somersaults and cartwheels I could not do. I hear the wet whoosh of the wheels as they slice through the water as we speed along through this landscape where gods used to walk. Today no gods, just me, in a turquoise Tempo."